Run and coop on a hill: smell and rain water management questions

Sahraschweiss

Songster
Apr 9, 2020
371
884
176
Wildwood, Missouri
I am new to chickens and probably made loads of mistakes, but haven't we all.

I have an 8' x 12' coop with a 20' x 20' run attached. The coop and the run sit on a hill. With a 50% incline. At the tightest it a foot off the ground and over 4 feet at its greatest. There is no other place to put it that would be more level. The space under coop does not get direct rain, but gets soaked with run off. The chickens love their under coop hideout. In the past two weeks it has rained 10 out of 14 days. This is unusually rainy for Missouri.

What do I put under the coop for smell management? Many people have used sand, but I'm concerned with it washing away.

Any suggestions help.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
I am new to chickens and probably made loads of mistakes, but haven't we all.

I have an 8' x 12' coop with a 20' x 20' run attached. The coop and the run sit on a hill. With a 50% incline. At the tightest it a foot off the ground and over 4 feet at its greatest. There is no other place to put it that would be more level. The space under coop does not get direct rain, but gets soaked with run off. The chickens love their under coop hideout. In the past two weeks it has rained 10 out of 14 days. This is unusually rainy for Missouri.

What do I put under the coop for smell management? Many people have used sand, but I'm concerned with it washing away.

Any suggestions help.
I use wood chips in my run. They work great but they would get flushed down the hill in your setup. I think most anything would.

I would make a swale on the high side of your setup. Possibly with a French drain in front of it to divert all runoff around your coop and run instead of through it.
 

Sahraschweiss

Songster
Apr 9, 2020
371
884
176
Wildwood, Missouri
I use wood chips in my run. They work great but they would get flushed down the hill in your setup. I think most anything would.

I would make a swale on the high side of your setup. Possibly with a French drain in front of it to divert all runoff around your coop and run instead of through it.
A French drain would be nice, but I would have to rent a backhoe. It's incredibly rocky here. But I'm going to keep it in mind. We plan to build an additional garage with basement on the property within a year (husband is a car nut). I could have the drain and divert route dug with the basement. But that's a year or even two out.

Thanks for the suggestion!
 

3KillerBs

Crossing the Road
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Jul 10, 2009
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I would make a swale on the high side of your setup. Possibly with a French drain in front of it to divert all runoff around your coop and run instead of through it.

Exactly what I was about to suggest. Diverting the water is going to be key to long-term success. :)

A French drain would be nice, but I would have to rent a backhoe. It's incredibly rocky here.

Can you put those rocks to use then? Build a rock wall to divert the water around the coop? Use them to make a "dry creek" channel to carry runoff away?
 

Punkybrewster

Crowing
Feb 23, 2018
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Upstate sc
Mine are on a hill too. I had to dig a ditch off to the side of the coops and run to divert water coming off the mountain. I put leaves, old mulch and old bedding material in mine. It seems to help as my runs dont stink too much after it rains.

But....eventually it gathers downhill against the chicken wire and i have to go into the run and rake it back uphill. Not a huge problem but it does have to be done every few weeks.
 

Sahraschweiss

Songster
Apr 9, 2020
371
884
176
Wildwood, Missouri
Update: I solved my water problem. Most of the water problem was roof rain water run off. Gutters did the trick. I can catch it off the roof an route it away from the run.

I'm still working on run ground cover. The girls got it beat down to hard clay and rock. Straw, wood chips, leaves, pine needles, small to medium river rock just slide down the hill. Since I am better at keeping under the coop dry, the girls are happier during and after rain. They have a dry outside area to go to. They only go into the coop to roost or to check out the nesting boxes. 19 weeks and no eggs yet.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
 

Sahraschweiss

Songster
Apr 9, 2020
371
884
176
Wildwood, Missouri
To level it would be a huge project. Front side is 2 and 1/2 cinder blocks off the ground and other is 5. Any other places that were closer to level are either traffic areas or already in use.

Since this pic we have finished the ground boards and three lower hot wires. Windows and vents are on the other sides where we could get to them using only a small ladder. Coop has attic with ridge vent caps, two attic fans that pull coop air up and out. One runs 24/7 and by itself can completely exchange the coop air in 15 minutes. The larger one kicks on at 80° . The girls willung go in each night. I think the like under the coop because they get the cool ground and can see all around.
I do have a smaller run with own pop door to a small brooder/coop inside the main coop.
image-20200704_135407.jpg
IMG_20200703_171719_1.jpg
 

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